Offer Sympathy In a Case of Serious or Terminal Illness • Letter Templates and Guides

How to write this letter:

1Briefly express your sympathy.
2Offer your compassion and, if possible, include a shared memory, but avoid writing it as an epitaph.
3Offer encouragement and support.


This letter should respectfully acknowledge the reader's misfortune while offering comfort and support. Be brief, honest, and sincere as you write your message on a "thinking of you" or no-message card.

Example Letter #1


I am so sorry to hear of your illness. It brings to mind the many times you have given your time to nurse others in similar situations. I would like to do the same for you. With your permission I would like to come over each morning to help you get ready for the day.

Example Letter #2


I have been thinking a lot about you and the discomfort you are experiencing these days. I wish I could do more to help, but rest assured that you are in our thoughts and prayers. Although we have lived far apart for some time, many of my fondest memories are of those times when we camped in the mountains. I hope we can do it again. Keep those spirits high! Jane and the children send their best.

Example Letter #3


I was devastated to hear of the severity of your mother's illness. When we were children she always gave us much-needed advice over a glass of cold milk and a plate of warm cookies. And as we have grown older, she has continued to give us wise counsel. She has always had remarkably clear perspective. I cannot help but feel that it is my turn to give something back. Please give me a call and let me know how I can help.

Example Letter #4


It was a shock to learn that John suffered a serious stroke. It still doesn't seem like a reality. After my neighbor suffered a stroke, he regained his ability to walk and speak although it took several months of therapy. I am hoping and praying for a favorable medical prognosis for John. I would be happy to drive you to his doctor's appointments if you should need the help. Just let me know what I can do.

Example Letter #5


I am distressed to learn of your recent health problems and what you must go through for a full recovery. You have been on my mind constantly for the past several days, and you are always in our prayers. I've been thinking about the times we played golf with the Doe brothers, and I hope it won't be long until we can do that again. As soon as you are feeling well enough to accept visitors, Jane and I would like to spend some moments with you. Until then, get well fast and please tell Ashley if there is something I can do to help either of you.


Offer your compassion and, if possible, include a shared memory, but avoid writing it as an epitaph.

Example Sentences for Step 2

Example Phrases for Step 2


Offer encouragement and support.

Example Sentences for Step 3

Example Phrases for Step 3